Six Valuable Lessons I Learned Writing my Latest Book

For me, writing a book is like giving birth to a rose bush.  The end product is so wonderful but the process is quite painful.   I learned some lessons writing my latest book “Fully Alive”  that will hopefully take some of the pain out of the next project.      

Write often

I hadn’t written a book in ten years and when I started this one, I was rusty.  Once I settled into a routine of writing 500 to 1000 words a day I began to write better.  Near the end of my book my writing required almost no editing.  I have written 10 published books but i learned that to be a good writer it is important to write constantly.  The more you write the better you get.  Even if you are not an author, journal your thoughts and experiences daily.  Your children and grandchildren will treasure the record and you will become a better communicator.

Observe life

Your research and writing are essential to the completion of any book but your ability to observe and allow every day experience to bring life to your book can make the difference between a page turner and a yawner.

Organize early

I wasted hours trying to find pieces of my book that I had worked hard to craft.  It is worth every second of time to carefully build and organize files where you can keep and find your work.  Thoughts about stories and ideas do not always come in the same order they will appear in the book.  Record them immediately.  Develop the thought in more detail at the nearest convenient time.  Then name it and file it.

Consolidate daily

Lets see.  Did I write that idea on a napkin?  Did I record it on my phone?   Where is that story about gambling?   I guarantee that ten years from now I will find notes scrawled on and old tee shirt that contain some magical whimsy that never made the pages of the book. Every day consolidate all the ideas you have recorded on paper, your phone, your computer, in some dark recess of your brain into one organized file.  I can tell you from experience that if you wait you will forget or lose good material.  I wasted hours looking for material that could have been found in seconds if I had taken the time to consolidate and file it.

Communicate verbally

Talk with your editors by phone.  Do not depend only on e-mail and edited hard copy for creative development that really needs a conversation.  Some of the most valuable time with my editors was spent face to face.

Edit ruthlessly  

The more you edit the better your work will gets.  Ruthlessly remove every unneeded word.  Replace fuzzy nouns with ones that paint a visual picture.  You might be more tempted to read about six valuable lessons than six things.  One of my friends had an English teacher who would fail any paper that contained the words “things” or “stuff.  She would say. “If you ask me to join you in the mountains where there are trees and things, I am not coming until I find out what the things are.”

Do you have helpful lessons you have learned from writing?   I will add them to my list.